The bill for the pope's visit has come in for SEPTA, the city's transportation agency.
The cost of equipment and materials for the festivities that culminated last weekend with Pope Francis' Philadelphia visit came to $1.6 million, said Richard Burnfield, SEPTA's chief financial officer. The sum includes the cost of port-a-potties, chain-link fence dividers, barricades, planning and a host of other expenses specific to the World Meeting of Families. The agency had budgeted for several hundred thousand dollars, far less than the final cost, he said.
"I'm really glad this happened in September instead of June 15," he said referring to the end of the fiscal year. "I have nine months to make sure if we have to do any course corrections we have time to do it."
The agency is still awaiting revenue numbers for September, but expect they will not be substantially different from past Septembers, and possibly will be lower.
SEPTA also released weekend ridership numbers for the subways for the first time Thursday. On Saturday 137,770 used the Broad Street and Market Frankford lines, compared to 147,715 on a normal Saturday. On Sunday 161,000 rode the two lines, compared to 111,000 on a typical Sunday. On both days the Broad Street line was by far the more heavily traveled.